Tag Archives: food trucks

Cheap Eats: Bon Me (Again!)

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So I’ve written about my love of Bon Me before, but (gasp!) I had never tried their sandwich, the classic Banh Mi. I saw the sandwich in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine, and my mouth started to water and I started to look for a good time and location to find one of the Bon Me trucks. Today I’ve tried it, and it was glorious.

Firstly, the truck was busy.  It was lunch hour, so I’m not surprised.  It’s just always a good sign to see people flocking around a truck.  Means the truck is on to something.

These guys know what's up

These guys know what’s up

The sandwich had homemade pate, Chinese BBQ pork, pickled dikon and carrots, and cilantro, for about $7. Totally affordable. The bread was perfectly soft and crunchy when you bit it, and the filings really worked well together.  I had the tang of the pickles and the rich meat with the pate, all with the freshness of the cilantro.  So perfect and delicious.  With a little Sriracha on top, I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the sandwich, but minutes later, it was gone.

and I was happy.

and I was happy.

It made me remember how much I love food trucks, and how I should try and find some more, even though the best season for eating outside is slowly coming to a close.  Either way, track down this truck to head to their brick–and–mortar location, and get your hands on some of the best sandwiches in town.

-L

 

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Cheap Eats: Bon Me

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The other day it was gorgeous outside (much like it has been all weekend) and I was walking around Boston, starving, which is a feeling I hate more than crying. Then I saw the Bon Me food truck and all was well with the world.

Look at those options– and those prices!

Look at those options– and those prices!

I decided to get a noodle salad with chinese bbq pork.  Good choice, Lana.

I don't usually steer myself wrong

I don’t usually steer myself wrong

The meat was super tender and tasty, while the rice noodles I chose were soft yet filling.  I loved the mixed greens, cilantro, and red onion that was served with the salad.  Really brought the whole thing together and gave a nice crunch.  The dressing was a little hard to taste, but I think that is because the pork had so much flavor it just took over the dish, which isn’t a bad thing.

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I sat in the park and had a lovely day just enjoying this salad and the weather.  It was some much needed relaxation, and I had been meaning to find this truck for the summertime.  Thank goodness it found me.

Bon Me has a variety of options, including sandwiches and rice bowls, and a variety of meats, so I will be walking the streets of Boston looking out for them again! In the meantime, those whose mouths are watering can check out their actual brick and mortar in Kendall Square. 

-L

 

 

 

Blogging and its effects on the Boston food community

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Kristen Fenton, who writes Indulge Inspire Imbibe, began her food blog on a whim.

“I lived in the North End and I was constantly being asked for restaurant recommendations … I just decided to put it online if everyone was asking. It is a nice place to also document the photos I was taking, Fenton said.

Fenton had been reading a few other blogs for inspiration and still follows local blogs, such as Delicious Dishing, Confessions of a Chocoholic, Travel Wine Dine, and Beantown Baker.  Her blog, while focusing on food, also has aspects of travel and lifestyle, thus the “Inspire” portion of her blog’s title.

“When I named it I wanted to keep it open ended because I didn’t want the focus to just be about food,” she said. “I wanted it to be about whatever I wanted.”

Indulge Inspire Imbibe, which has been running for three years, gets about 500 visitors a day. Not bad for a woman who works in the healthcare sector.

Katie Barszcz, of The Small Boston Kitchen, began her blog because she wanted to get involved in the food industry and out of her then job in human relations.

“I started a blog to give me a format to explore food more and see where it would take me,” she said.

The plan worked.  Her blog receives about 10,000 viewers a month and led to The Skinny Beet, a personal chef and catering service (with a blog of course!) she began with her fiancé.  The couple cooks for clients during the week, do private dinner parties, and teach at the Boston Center for Adult Education.

“I think food is something so many people are so passionate about. I think it’s great people have a platform to talk about it,” Barszcz said of the blogging experience. “I think it’s the constant search and staying true to yourself to finding what the purpose of your blog actually is.”

For food bloggers, eating is more than just providing a body with sustenance, but a way of life, a hobby, or a favored pastime.  Not all who love food can be in the restaurant industry, however (and not all in the industry love food, but that is a discussion for another time). This group of people, coined “foodies,” write about food, make food, or simply look at pictures of food on the Internet, feeding their passion after the normal work day is done.  Blogging has emerged as an outlet where foodies can express their love of food with other like–minded individuals, whether or not food is part of their daily life.

Bloggers like Rachel Blumenthal, who has been blogging about food and restaurants for years.

“I think that one of the most important things about blogging is that you’re on your own schedule you’re not on a newspaper’s schedule where there might be something interesting to cover but there are so many other things that need to be covered first,” said Rachel Blumenthal, who runs the site Fork it over, Boston. Blumenthal started the blog almost five years ago and it has helped her get a part–time gig with Eater Boston, a restaurant news site.

Blumenthal, while not posting a great deal this year, thinks that doing restaurant reviews on a blog is easier to beat formal reviewers to the figurative punch, because writers answer only to their free time.

“You’re not answering to an editor or anything like that, so you can do whatever you want and put whatever you want out there … it’s a really nice way to let people express themselves without jumping through all the hoops of legitimate publishing,” she said.

Her site, which she says is about 80 percent restaurant reviews and the rest recipes she attempts at home, has a following of about 400 viewers per day, and more when she posts new material, she says.

“I think that individual bloggers who work hard and are honest and open with their readers can build up a reputation over time that’s on the same level of respect as a Boston Globe reviewer can command,” Blumenthal said.

A noble thought, but not all would agree with that statement, most of all

Sheryl Julian, food critic for the Boston Globe.

“I don’t think they know the rules of the road,” Julian said.

Julian, who in addition to her 27 years at the Globe also teaches food writing in the master’s program at Boston University, believes many bloggers today are getting perks from restaurants and are thus writing biased reviews.

“I’m passionately interested in food journalism,” she said. “If you’re going to become a blogger and teach yourself to do it all, then you have to be serious.  You can’t decide on day that you’re a blogger.”

Julian believes there are two types of bloggers, people who are making food at home for their families and taking photos and food news bloggers who go to restaurants in order for a free meal and then blog about the experience.   She believes the ladder is not journalism and unethical.

For the latter, becoming a well–known blogger in a small city can have its perks, which are enjoyed by bloggers like Fenton, who says although she enjoys some occasional perks, she has no plans to make her blog anything more than a hobby.

The former, Julian believes, have a great deal of potential and many are becoming cookbook authors.

“These first time authors are great authors because they have been writing [on their blogs] for years,” Julian said.

Bloggers like Chelsea Monroe–Cassel, who began the site Inn At The Croassroads with then roommate Sariann Lehrer; their blog includes recipes inspired by the “Game of Thrones” books by George R.R. Martin. The blog started by the two women deciding what to make for dinner, and they thought lemon cakes from the Game of Thrones books would be a good idea.  Already having an interest in the books, they tried searching for a recipe online, but to no avail.

“We couldn’t find anything online that matched what we thought lemon cakes should be,” Monroe–Cassel said.

Monroe–Cassel already collected medieval cookbooks and used them as a jumping off point for the site’s recipes.

“It gives an idea about how recipes and flavor profiles have evolved over time.”

The blog, started in March 2011, soon became an Internet sensation.  The two filled a much–needed niche in the cooking world, and soon a book option was in sight.

“It went from cookbook to blog,” she said, “when I emailed George Martin to let him know that we were doing this … I said jokingly, ‘If you ever think of doing a cookbook think of us.’”

Martin responded a few weeks later saying he liked the blog and would pass it along to his publisher, and in May 2012 “A Feast of Ice and Fire was released to the public.  The book uses quotations from the books describing food to inspire each recipe, and the book features medieval and modern interpretations on food described in the book.

“We’re first and foremost fans and I think that makes a difference too,” she said.

TV shows, types of food, or even the love of some of Boston’s best restaurants can hold Blogging communities together.  Lisa Flores, director of sales and marketing for Columbus Hospitality, has seen blogging come a long way, especially in the past three years.

“I invite a blogger in once a month to come in and have dinner with us … I find it to be relevant press,” Flores said.

Columbus Hospitality Group owns popular spots Sorellina , Mooo…, and the original and most favored fine dining spot among Boston foodies, Mistral.

“People really pay attention to what bloggers are saying, they have become more prominent,” Flores said. “They [bloggers] could become at the same level as a food critic eventually.”

Flores says over her 13 years with Columbus Hospitality and more specifically Mistral, she has seen the age of regular customers decline, from mid 40s to mid 20s, and can attribute some of that to the recent emergence of foodies and related blogs.

Flores follows a few blogs herself, like Boston’s Just Add Cheese and The Perfect Bite, and likes to find bloggers more researched on the restaurant that people visit once and write reviews on sites like Yelp! Flores, like many other bloggers, also states that good photos are key to a great blog.

“I like the pictures of food that are taken well … if the photos are dark the food can look terrible,” Flores said.

Monroe–Cassel agrees.

“Photos are crucial,” she said. “No one can taste or smell the food online but they can see.”

Since perfecting her photos on her blog and in her book,  Monroe–Cassel is working on a brewing site inspired by the series, and says she would not be opposed to writing another cookbook if the opportunity arises. Either way, she is looking forward to the future of blogging with optimism.

“Throughout my research I’ve seen different approaches, like communal sites or cookbooks, but its never taken off…I’d like to see more of that, Monroe–Cassel said. “I’d like to see how food blogging evolves with cookbooks or self publishing cause I think they would go hand in hand together.”

Whatever the future may hold for bloggers, is important to stay passionate, according to Monroe–Cassel.

“Do whatever it is you love,” she said. “You’ll be hard pressed to keep up enthusiasm if you do it just to make a buck or get views, I think you will get those anyways if you have the passion behind it.”

Chatting with some awesome bloggers about blogging

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Check out this video I made for my senior project! I got to interview and meet some awesome people to do my blog, a huge and special thanks to Kristen Fenton from Indulge Inspire Imbibe, Rachel Leah Blumenthal from Fork it over, Boston, Lisa Flores from Mistral, Mei Lee from Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Chelsea Monroe–Cassel from Inn At The Crossroads, and my awesome place of employment Cafeteria Boston for letting me shoot some B-roll!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out:

Trying some sweets at Kickass Cupcakes

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I have been slowly but surely doing a series on food trucks in Boston, certainly to pick up more when the weather finally picks up (although I am starting to smell spring in the air, finally!). A few weeks ago I swing by the Kickass Cupcakes truck when it was parked outside the BPL and chatted with Xavier (cupcake ambassador) and some people that had the misfortune to stop by when me and The Russian were filming. The good thing is I ran into Steve Leibowitz, a fellow blogger who runs Hub Food Trucks. Small world!

Not sure if I love myself on video, but enjoy the plentiful shots of the cupcakes! They are only $3 (except the bubbly, which is $4) so you can stock up on a few without breaking the bank.

This video was incredibly fun to shoot and edit, so expect some more videos in the future!

I would also like to add that although the shot didn’t make it into the video, for those who were wondering: the truck does have milk available for purchase to wash down these sweet bites.

-L

Spending the Morning with Mei Mei Street Kitchen

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Click on photo to see entire stream on Flickr

Last week, I was lucky enough to spend the morning with Mei Mei Street Kitchen during their breakfast shift.  What awesome people! The food was great, the staff is super friendly, and I walked away with some yummy green tea macarons. (I have a thing for their macarons). Everything is locally sourced and under $10.  Awesome.

I put the best photos and interviews as part of a series on Boston food trucks and uploaded it to Flickr.  Click the photo above to see more! Enjoy!

-L

Ginger Explosion 4, pt. 2

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I just got home from Ginger Explosion 4 at P.A.’s lounge in Somerville. It was incredibly fun, and I’m laying in bed in ginger-induced bliss. So many highs with the food, only a few missteps. For those who do not follow me on Twitter, Here’s a recap:

The Russian was excited too once we got there and received our sporks.

The Russian was excited too once we got there and received our sporks.

We were immediately greeted by a ginger cocktail containing Domaine de Canton, lemons, and soda water.  Totally refreshing and I will be copying that tomorrow night at home.

Obsessed with this slightly sweet, totally refreshing concoction.

Obsessed with this slightly sweet, totally refreshing concoction.

We headed over to the Roxy’s Grilled Cheese stand and picked up some of their delicious ginger milkshakes (none of the photos came out well, however).  They were really tasty, especially when they topped it with crumbled gingerbread cookie. The only comment I would have is that I’ve had Roxy’s before, and they make the bomb grilled cheese.  I wish they had made some sort of ginger infused grilled cheese to show those out tonight who have never heard of the food truck inspired to visit them again.

We then tried the Staff Meal offering, a Chinese ham terrine topped with pickled ginger.  Totally tasty and inventive, and I loved every bite.

Can't go wrong with pork

Can’t go wrong with pork

Then we walked over to my favorite offerings of the night. Mei Mei Street Kitchen, which I was already planning to visit in the coming weeks, had an amazing showing.

and they were the only ones with a sign explaining their dishes

and they were the only ones with a sign explaining their dishes

We tried the beef rillettes first.  Tender beef, pickled ginger on the bottom, topped with powdered ginger scallion oil.  I can promise you, I’ve never had powdered oil and I was freaking out over how awesome it was.  The most interesting texture and flavor. Totally incredible, I could have eaten a plate of them.

pretty and tasty

pretty and tasty

Then there were the macarons. So tasty and rich, I thought I was in Paris again. So gingered but also so smooth. Totally in love.

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Here’s a compilation of my first bite of these incredible little desserts.

eating1

eating2

eating3

eating4

…I was very happy.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the curry offering from neighborhood joint Dosa–N–Curry.  There was no ginger element and the sauce was spicy but not flavorful.  Also, I think I bit into a piece of bamboo or something and it was unpleasant.

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not my favorite

We finished up with some homemade ginger–vanilla marshmallows:marsh

Super sweet but had a spicy ginger element.

Overall, Ginger Explosion 4 was an incredible time and has left me excited to go find some of Boston’s best food trucks and fun food events around the city.

-L